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Penticton council’s Code of Conduct tabled but not without debate

Coun. Miller’s motion to delay questioned after he voted for the policy as a regional director
The kindness meter stands outside City Hall. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Penticton city council decided they needed more time to review a new Code of Conduct policy.

Coun. James Miller made a motion to table the policy until the Feb. 20 meeting so council could review the “tremendous amount of content” and to get a good understanding of the implications of the code.

But his motion didn’t come without some questions from council members and criticism from the mayor.

“This is the same wording and the Code of Conduct you voted on as a board director at the Regional District. I just want to understand what has changed for you from September until now?” asked Coun. Isaac Gilbert.

Miller responded that it was in the interest of cooperation that he voted for the Code of Conduct at RDOS.

“We’ve had a test drive with RDOS. In Kelowna, their council is being tested with the code of conduct. I’d like to see some professional development on this,” said Miller.

Kelowna’s newly adopted Code of Conduct is being reviewed to see if Coun. Ron Cannan breached anything after he posted a controversial opinion piece with an online media outlet.

READ MORE: Politicians claim Kelowna councillor’s column ‘promotes religion over inclusion’

Bill 26 was adopted in 2021 which resulted in municipal councils having to adopt a code of conduct regarding expected behaviour and responsibilities within six months of a local election.

Osoyoos, Princeton and Keremeos have already adopted these policies.

The town of Oliver chose to keep a made-in-Oliver model.

Miller suggested that maybe council wants to consider a made-in-Penticton model.

Mayor Julius Bloomfield was not happy with time being taken up on this matter.

“This is the same document that you voted on at the regional district. To turn around to say ‘we don’t like it’, is problematic. We’ve got an awful lot of business to get through in the next six months with the legislation from the province,” said Bloomfield.

“Because of that, we will have an enormous amount of planning to do. We need to focus on the important issues of housing, crime and homelessness. If this drags out, this could be a distraction.”

Coun. Helena Konanz agreed to table the policy but said council has had a lot of information on the new policy already.

“We’ve had a lot of presentations concerning this Code of Conduct as a council so we don’t need to invest in any more training or consultants. We’ve had lawyers look at this, as did UBCM,” said Konanz.

In the end, council voted to table the Code of Conduct.

The policy deals with the duty of elected officials to abide by the code and its expectations for behaviour, respect and accountability.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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